John Lawrence Hill

Professor of Law, Adjunct Professor of Philosophy
Grimes Fellow

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law
Lawrence W. Inlow Hall, Room 301
530 W. New York Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202-3225

Phone: (317) 278-9036
Fax: (317) 278-7563

Web Page


B.A., 1982, M.A., 1985, Northern Illinois University
J.D., 1988, Ph.D., 1989, Georgetown University


Constitutional law, criminal law, civil procedure and torts. Electives include Jurisprudence, Philosophical Issues in the Criminal Law and Bioethics and Law


Professor Hill joined the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law in 2003. He holds a J.D. and Ph.D. in philosophy, both from Georgetown University. He has taught most of the courses in the first-year curriculum – Civil Procedure I and II, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Torts and Legal Writing – and several courses in the upper division including First Amendment, Jurisprudence and Bioethics.

He has written three books and several articles, which have appeared in such venues as the New York University Law Review, the Cornell Law Review, the Iowa Law Review and the Georgetown Law Journal. His "intentional" theory of parenting in surrogate mother contracts, defended in the New York University Law Review article, was cited and adopted by the Supreme Court of California in Johnson v Calvert. His most recent book, The Political Centrist (Vanderbilt, 2009), argues that liberalism and conservatism are meaningless labels and defends a centrist approach to such issues as the scope of government power, affirmative action, the death penalty and the debate over illegal immigration.

In the last few years Professor Hill has become interested in natural law theory and, more generally, in the relationship between our understanding of God and our moral, legal and political ideals. He is completing a book entitled, Law’s Deepest Dilemma: Natural Law or Materialism?, which traces the development of Natural Law/Theism and the grand alternative to this, Materialism, in history. The book argues that Materialism is incompatible with any coherent understanding of human dignity and rights, moral and legal responsibility and political liberty.

Professor Hill is a member of the State Bars of Illinois and California.


Books and Chapters

  • The Political Centrist, Vanderbilt University Press, Fall, 2009.
  • The Case for Vegetarianism (Rowman and Littlefield, 1996).
  • The Enlightened Society (Theosophical Publishing House, 1987).
  • Chapter: "The Zone of Privacy and the Right to Use Drugs," in Drug Legalization: For and Against (Evans and Berent eds. 1992.)"

Law Review and Journal Articles

  • The Constitutional Status of Morals Legislation, 98 Kentucky Law Journal No. 1 (2009)
  • The Five Faces of Liberty in American Political and Constitutional Thought, 45 Boston College Law Review 499-594 (2004).
  • A Third Theory of Liberty: The Evolution of Our Conception of Freedom in American Constitutional Thought, 29 Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly 115-184 (2002).
  • A Theory of Merit, 1 Georgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy 15-75 (2002).
  • A Utilitarian Theory of Duress, 84 Iowa Law Review 275-338 (1999).
  • Moralized Theories of Coercion: A Critical Analysis, 74 Denver Law Review 907 (1997) (by invitation for a symposium on "Exploitation and Coercion")
  • Law and the Concept of the Core Self: Toward a Reconciliation of Naturalism and Humanism, 80 Marquette Law Review 289-390 (1997).
  • Mill, Freud, and Skinner: The Concept of the Self and the Moral Psychology of Liberty, 26 Seton Hall Law Review 92-182 (1995).
  • Exploitation, 79 Cornell Law Review 631-699 (1994).
  • What Does it Mean to be a Parent?: The Claims of Biology as the Basis for Parental Rights, 66 New York University Law Review 353-420 (1991) (quoted and analysis adopted by the Supreme Court of California in Johnson v. Calvert, 851 P. 2d 776, 781-82 (Cal. 1993)).
  • Note, Freedom, Determinism and the Externalization of Responsibility in the Law: A Philosophical Analysis, 76 Georgetown Law Journal 2045-2073 (1988).